LUCKNOW: Taking up the high points of party’s Sankalp Patra (manifesto) one-by-one, the newly-elected Yogi government seems to have adopted a proactive approach and is already in implementation mode. Having promised a lot to ensure women's safety during its election campaign, the BJP government in Lucknow took the first step in that direction setting up ‘Anti-Romeo Squads’ across the state.
Such squads drawn from the City police from Gorakhpur to Ghaziabad and Lucknow to Lalitpur, fanned out at markets, malls, schools, colleges, coaching centres and other spots to ensure women's safety and check the incidents of eve-teasing.
According to DGP Javed Ahmed, directives were given to police top brass to come out with an action plan to hold area-specific dedicated drills to ‘reclaim’ public places from anti-social elements who keep loitering around. “This will create a sense of security not only among the women but general public also. In Lucknow, two youths were held when they failed to explain the reason for their presence in front of a girls' school.
Besides, over five persons were detained and around 900 suspicious elements were quizzed and about 175 spots were checked by the cops in State capital. “The police administration has been asked to be alert and ensure that hooligans don’t succeed in having their way,” said the DGP.
Moreover, the consumption of liquor at public places will also be checked for usually it becomes the reason for brawls and eve-teasing. “The police chiefs of all 11 districts under the Lucknow zone have been directed to constitute squads to be deployed at eve-teasing prone locations,” said IG, Lucknow Zone, A Satish Ganesh.
“We were already working hard in direction of curbing incidents not only of eve-teasing but also of harassment of girls through various sources in which cyber crime holds a prominent place. But, this initiative will certainly go a long way in making our girls safer as they face lurking dangers from various nooks and corners of the society,” says a senior woman officer posted at 1,090 women powerline, the anti-harassment cell which was set up by the previous government.
However, in districts, at market places, malls, girls colleges, schools, bus stops, cops were deployed in teams to catch hold of suspicious ruffians. Police in plain clothes have also been deployed to check youngsters passing time in groups at street corners and roadside stalls and beetle shops.
“The concept is to create a fear-free atmosphere so that everyone, especially girls and women, could feel secure and protected,” said the IG.
A Sub-Inspector level officer will head each squad. He will be accompanied by two constables and two women cops. In bigger cities like, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Meerut, Bareilly, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad, etc four or five such squads will be there at each police station. They will be deputed around schools and colleges in the morning. Thereafter, when the schools get over, these squads will have to remain mobile at malls and markets.
While in smaller cities and towns every circle officer will monitor the deployment of the squads from all three police stations under his jurisdiction as per the need of the areas and localities, said the IG.
The cops’ proactive approach is in for appreciation from sections of society, especially, the girls who feel it was long overdue and the move will inculcate confidence in them. At many places, even the women have reportedly mustered courage to take on the eve-teasers on their own. But the caution at this juncture is also imperative.
Girls need to be alert and empowered but not emboldened and the men in khaki too, in their zeal to implement the manifesto of the new ruling party, will have to ensure that they do not resort to moral policing and troubling the innocent.
However, besides, anti-Romeo Squad, special drives against mafia and history sheeters are also being planned in the state. The focus will be more on those who have jumped bails or are wanted in cases. At a meeting through video conferencing convened by DGP Javed Ahmad and Principal Secretary (Home), Debashish Panda, directives were issued to all district magistrates and superintendents of police from across the state on Monday to launch dedicated drives to check incidents like cow slaughter and incidents which could jeopardise communal harmony. The officers concerned were also warned of penal action in case of laxity.